Preparing as a high school freshmen

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by kmargie25, Nov 27, 2015.

  1. kmargie25

    kmargie25 New Member

    Nov 27, 2015
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    I am a female high school freshmen and would really like to attend the Air Force Academy. It has been my dream to go there and become a pilot. I know I am just a freshmen, but I also know acceptance rates are extremely selective and it has been getting harder to get accepted. I want to have the most competitive application possible and was wondering what is important to do now. Thank you for helping me and it is greatly appreciated.

    I run Cross Country, didn't letter but expect to letter next year, and I am currently swimming and I expect to letter this year or the next.
    I take honors classes in all that I can currently and take a year above level honors math.
    By the end of this school year I will be in the Civil Air Patrol (hopefully sooner) with the goal of earning as high of rank and award as I possibly can.
  2. 6KDogwhistle

    6KDogwhistle Member

    Aug 2, 2014
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    The latest academy admissions profile is available online; just do a Google search. You can get an idea of where you'll want to rack 'n stack in order to be competitive and what sort of target figures that you need to aim for. I'm sure you know the obvious-SAT/ACT scores, GPA, AP classes, sports, leadership qualities, physical fitness (core strength) and other extra curricular activities.
    Here's my recommendation. Find what interests you and try and excel in everything that you lay your hands on. I see too many kids trying to game the system. By that, I mean playing sports they are not really into, joining clubs that they have no interest in, running for high school officer positions just to check that box, volunteering for community service that they dread, etc. The exception to this rule is taking AP/honors classes. Yes, you need to challenge yourself and do well academically. As painful as it is, you should take as many AP classes that you can handle because it will pay huge dividends later. You're going to see many of your peers gaming the system on active duty (or sooner) in order to climb the ladder and completely miss out on the overall experience. It's a sad way to go through life, IMHO. This is a pretty significant problem in the military-too many wrong unqualified people in positions of authority. Sorry, I digress.
    It's great that you have a set goal. The academy will offer you the best shot at getting a pilot slot, as long as you are pilot qualified (physically). One thing that I stress to all of the pilot wannabees is that you need a back up plan incase you cannot be a pilot. As much as I hate this phrase but you are an officer first. Are you willing to serve in a different career field? If so, have a career field in mind. For me personally, the answer would have been a h*** NO! If this is the case, you may want to consider AFROTC since you are not fully committed until the beginning of your junior year in ROTC. Besides, having this option as a backup plan is a good idea. I'd also check out the Naval academy and/or NROTC.
    It's a long road but it's doable. The important thing is to keep your focus on the end goal and not so much emphasis on the source of commission. Good luck and happy hunting!
    Midwest likes this.
  3. Midwest

    Midwest Member

    Nov 29, 2014
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    6KDogwhistle has some great points.

    Recently I read a letter of reference given to my DD for a scholarship application. I almost fell over reading it. I had no idea my DD's level of passion for being a National Ski Patroller and ski/snowboard instructor would create such a powerful reference from a ski patrol adviser. She started in 7th grade shadowing her dad on the slopes. Her involvement during the last five years has not only been "over-the-top" fun, but she has also developed a passion for teaching, engineering (making better ski and hill equipment) and emergency medicine. Time spent in the ski patrol room and on the lift chairs was an opportunity for many career conversations. And the best part is it counted as community service and leadership activities. Who knew - this was not planned for padding an application. ( For me... I was just glad we didn't have to pay for lift tickets. :rolleyes: )

    The academy applications have lots of ideas to think about and it is where my DD learned about Girl's State. But there are so many other things you could be involved in that also count. My thoughts are when you do something that you could care less if you get paid or not, don't get a grade and don't care who's watching, it is your sweet spot. Developing your "sweet spot" is how you create unshakable passion, confidence, discipline and knowledge. And then find a way to give it back or "pay it forward."

    Ok... just my 2 cents from watching my DD who is a JUST a ski bum... :coo2l:

    Best wishes to you in finding your sweet spot.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2015
  4. Norfolk63

    Norfolk63 privateer

    Mar 7, 2013
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    Get into CAP asap. It is a great organization where you will learn a lot, and it is a great way to make sure that Air Force and the military in general is a good fit for you. In many ways it is better than JROTC because it will not conflict with high school sports like JROTC can.
  5. Maplerock

    Maplerock Proud to be an American

    Jan 31, 2013
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    Goals are great, but you're a freshman. Don't forget that high school is a time for fun and finding yourself. Get ultra focused and I believe you lose a precious part of growing up.

    I salute you for your desire to serve and to challenge yourself. Go for it. It's a wonderful experience. Just don't forget to have fun along the way.
    Pima likes this.
  6. smj89

    smj89 Member

    Dec 19, 2015
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    If you're serious about getting into a SA, you'll have a different HS experience then most. I don't want to sound negative or harsh but that's the case- take every Honor's class you can. Take some AP's, but not all of them because you'll kill yourself, your GPA, or you're already small social life (or all 3). Get into student council or student government. Get involved in a sport and get good at it. Do STEM related things like science club or math team. Also they really like NHS but most schools won't do that until your Junior Year. I was like you and wanted to do as much as I could, but honestly until Dec. of your Junior Year when you can apply for their SS, you can't do anything but prepare your grades. I went to USNA and USAFA SS's and they were amazing, but think of it as an extended college visit. It truly does not help your application strength. ACT/SAT's mean EVERYTHING. Take them serious. Remember that though it is great to push yourself to be the best, you'll crack if you don't do anything but stress over admission for four years. Make some time for yourself. Go to football games and homecoming and do stuff on the weekends. You'll regret in the end if four years go by and all of a sudden you realize you never did anything but study. Also- don't sit around and wait till July before Senior year and once the files open submit everything in a week. It's a mistake. You'll have plenty of time to get everything in and you can't edit documents once you submit them, so wait till you know your resume couldn't be any stronger and THEN submit it. Wait till October or November. Become good friends with your ALO. He can make or break your application.
  7. Cayden Sparks

    Cayden Sparks Member

    Jan 13, 2015
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    Definitely some quality information here.....My two cents is to make sure that you are well rounded. Get involved in your high school by participating in sports, NHS, clubs etc.
    smj89 likes this.
  8. md403

    md403 Member

    Mar 3, 2015
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    Remember, if your parents can afford it-take the ACT/SAT often. SA's (AFA, USNA and WP) superscore the exams. Meaning, that they take your best scores from multiple testings and use that for your "best/highest" scores. Also check into various on line prep courses. A good one and FREE

    Hope this helps you and possible others.
  9. Pima

    Pima 5-Year Member

    Nov 28, 2007
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    6KDogwhistle and Maplerock,


    I get your aspirations, but here is where I come from:
    1. If you found this site, and know that USAFA is selective, than you are already in front of the 8 ball. You know that your competition will be stiff.
    2. Your post scares me a little from an academic aspect.
    ~ Nowhere do you state any academic cgpa. Yes, you are in a rigorous curriculum according to you, but you do not state how well you are doing in those courses.
    3. Just me, but honestly, if I had a dollar for everyone that comes on here and says I want to be a pilot, than I would be a millionaire!
    ~ If your goal is to be a pilot, than ask yourself what if you can't be a pilot? Would you still want to be in the AF?
    ~~ Flieger, Stealth, 6Kdog, Raimius, Hornet, Bullet, etc. will tell you that just because you are medically qualified to attend an SA does not mean you will be medically qualified to fly. You need to pass the DoDMERB for an appointment, but for flying you must pass the FAA FC1 physical. In other words, they can say you will commission, but fly a desk because medically you can't meet the FAA FC1 standards. Same is true for things like vision.
    ~~~ You state you are a female. Females sometimes due to sitting height have a bigger hurdle to become a pilot, especially for fighters and ejection seats.

    If knowing that you can't pass the FAA FC1, would you still want to go AF?
    ~ I won't even go down the path of how winging out of UPT is letter M and getting an appointment is letter A.

    4. Get your medical records in order if you have had any issues after the age of 13.
    ~ Many get tripped up because their doc prescribed an inhaler after age 13 as a safety issue. Folks kept refilling it with no idea that it could impact their kids because on the DoDMERB intake exam they ask about prescriptions.
    5. As others have stated take that SAT/ACT as often as you can afford.
    ~ As a junior you can take the PSAT. Score in the top 5 percentile, you are eligible for the NMSF. It will help you, not only from a resume award aspect, but plan B for colleges.
    6. Do not have tunnel vision...SAs as top choices.
    ~ I would say to you, look at your future in HS as if you want to get into an Ivy.
    ~ Things happen. My DS went AFROTC scholarship because the more he investigated life at USAFA and life at his college (with merit) he decided he wanted to go to his college (it was a free ride between the AFROTC scholarship and his merit) He is now an O2 and a pilot.
    ~~ Additionally, the further you go down this road, the more you will realize that plan B is important. AFROTC scholarships are not like USAFA appointments.
    ~~~ AFROTC scholarships are BEST sitting, not superscored like USAFA. AFROTC is national from the get go. USAFA starts at a Congressional district level, than State (Sen slate) and ending at a national level.
    ~ God forbid as a swimmer you tear a ligament in late April as an appointee and need 8 weeks recovery medically prior to I Day, than you may now be unable to report to I day and need that scholarship...aka you are a medical turnback.

    Wish you the best.

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